Making A DifferenceAugust 31, 2023 2023-08-31 4:32
Making A Difference
Our emphasis on mentorship, leadership and inspirational learning opportunities continues to distinguish St. Peter’s College and contributes to a significant student success rate. St. Peter’s also ensures academic success, positive economic impacts and commitment to community.
Because business, industry, community leaders and government tell us there is a critical demand for a qualified workforce, and because St. Peter’s College is experiencing a high demand for quality programming and enhanced facilities, we are renewing our commitment to gathering the funds needed to enhance teaching, to update technology and programming, and to grow. The Grounded in Faith Campaign will help us to do that.
Nestled within 500 acres of mixed forest and organic farmland, St. Peter’s College provides first- and second-year students with fully accredited Arts and Science, Business and Agriculture courses. Many students start their degree program at the College or fulfill the entry requirements for professional colleges such as Medicine, Law, Nutrition, Education Kinesiology, and Pharmacy at other universities. The College also offers a Creative Writing Diploma, the Certificate in Criminology and Addictions Program, and other university, professional and community programming.
St. Peter’s College award-winning, experienced and friendly faculty and staff, combined with engaging small class sizes and strong sense of community, ensure our students receive the finest quality of instruction and the experience they need to be successful.
St. Peter’s College is an integral part of the region and the province, providing vital services and participating as a responsible corporate citizen.
As an economic engine, St. Peter’s College generates and attracts millions of dollars per year to the local economy and is essential to sustainable rural economic development for Saskatchewan.
Programming that benefits the whole region, as well as many provincial and national organizations, would not be possible without the College or its facilities. There is no question that the College’s facilities, including the Sportsplex and the 46,000-square foot Michael Hall, a designated provincial heritage property, is vital to the success of many sport, recreation, social and cultural initiatives.
Alumni Making A Difference
At St. Peter’s College we have many alumni who make a difference. Here are just a few…
St. Peter’s College Alumnus Feels Need to Give Back
When planning his $1 million gift to St. Peter’s College (SPC), Class of 1950 alumnus Paul J.
Hoenmans, retired director and president of Exxon Mobil, remembered what a difference a
quality education and supportive community made to his life.
“I grew up in Pilger, where there was no high school. I wanted to get a Grade 12 diploma from
a recognized school, and one of the best in the province, even then, was St. Peter’s College.
Even though there was no money to go to school, the Abbot at the time said, ‘Come here
anyway, and when you have the where-with-all, I know you’ll pay us back.’ And that’s what I
want to do.“
“Looking back,” added Mr. Hoenmans, “I really had my moral compass set at St. Peter’s College,
based on the experiences I absorbed, not in the classroom necessarily, but living in this
community and seeing the examples that the Benedictine monks and their support staff
provided for me and my fellow students.”
Mr. Hoenmans believes his teachers didn’t do it for fame and fortune; they did it out of love for
their neighbours and for the people who surrounded them.
“Ultimately, the atmosphere at St. Peter’s set a way of life that I would not have achieved had I
not come here. For that, I’m eternally grateful.”
Mr. Hoenmans went to SPC for two years, got his diploma, went on to university, became an
engineer, and then entered the world of business and commerce. Some 58 years later, he came
back to help launch the College’s Key to Success Campaign by announcing his donation to help
continue “the tremendous progress that the school has made.”
Established in 1921, SPC was a boys’ boarding school when Mr. Hoenmans was a student.
Today, it is a recognized post-secondary institution affiliated with the University of
Saskatchewan where its past and recent alumni are making a difference in communities
throughout the world.
“Our challenge and opportunity, right now, is to stay on the forefront while maintaining our
traditions of service and quality education and research for the people of Saskatchewan,“ said
Lisa Laskowski, SPC director of development. “Mr. Hoenmans’ inspirational gift will help us do
“We are incredibly grateful to Mr. Hoenmans for donating $1 million to establish the Paul J.
Hoenmans Bursary and to renew the college building where he once studied,” added
Laskowski. “His belief in our business plan and his generous contribution will make an
outstanding difference to St. Peter’s College students and the communities we serve.”
In recognition of Mr. Hoenmans’ donation, SPC is naming part of its main teaching building The
Paul J. Hoenmans Community Resource Centre. The Centre will include the College’s library,
Conexus Community Art Gallery, computer labs, as well as resource and conference rooms.
Mr. Hoenmans’ planned gift was the catalyst for many of the latest contributions to SPC.
Coupled with the recently announced $3 million provincial infrastructure investment and $1
million commitment from SPC alumnus Hank B. Swartout, retired chairman of the Board and
CEO, Precision Drilling Inc., Mr. Hoenmans’ investment will help SPC move forward with its $15
million plan. The focus of this plan is to renovate SPC’s buildings and enhance its university
programming to meet the needs of future students and the community.
“The College is starting a new phase in its existence, and I can’t help but say the mantle of
responsibility is now thrown to us,” Mr. Hoenmans told the crowd of alumni, business,
government and community leaders, faculty, staff and students at SPC’s fundraising campaign
“I hope that we will do as well in providing opportunities for the generations of today and
tomorrow as our forefathers did when they established this College. They did a marvelous job;
they sacrificed and it was successful.”
“Imagine what St. Peter’s will look like 10 years, 15 years from now if we all do our bit,” he
added thoughtfully. “I’m resolved to do mine, I hope you will all help.”
Serblowski Wins Prestigious Scholarship
By Brooke Hogemann of the Humboldt Journal
A prestigious scholarship from the University of Saskatchewan was recently awarded to a Grade 12 student at Bruno Central School.
Brittany Serblowski found out in April that she was one of 15 future U of S students awarded the University of Saskatchewan Entrance Scholarship – one of the university’s top awards.
“I guess it’s pretty prestigious,” Serblowski said. “They had to choose out of thousands of applicants.”
The scholarship is worth $16,200 and will be paid out over four years, if she keeps her grades up in university. “For the first year I get $4,200,” Serblowski said. “Then I have to maintain an 80 per cent average for the next three years to get (the rest).”
To ensure she keeps her marks high, Serblowski said she is going to enroll in pre-dentistry classes at St. Peter's College in Muenster, where the classes are smaller than at the large U of S campus.
“They say on average grades drop 20 per cent in your first year of (university) and I want to keep my scholarship,” Serblowski said.
And with good reason – dentistry school cost $32,000 a year, so every little bit helps.
“I applied for all the scholarships I could because I’m applying for dentistry,” Serblowski said.
She added that she always wanted to go into the medical field, but after taking part in the work exploration program at Bruno Central School, she decided to focus on dentistry.
“I really enjoyed my experience at Atrium Dental in Saskatoon,” Serblowski said, “I got to bring patients in, assist in extractions, make mouth guards and sterilize the rooms (after patients left).
“That finalized my decision,” she added.
The entrance scholarship looks not only at grades, but at leadership and community involvement, as well.
“I’m on the YES (Youth Empowerment Strategy) team at school,” Serblowski said of her involvement in the community. “Once every couple months we hold breakfast for the community to show the importance of breakfast and we hand out snacks, like muffins, to students.”
Other community involvement and leadership activities for Serblowski include the community wellness co-ordinator position under Prairie View Foundation Board, where Serblowski did a variety of things, including setting up and addictions workshop for students and parents. She was also captain of the volleyball team and a member of the yearbook committee, to name a few.
“It was also based on academic grades,” Serblowski said. “You had to have an average of 95 per cent.”
The principal at Bruno Central School sent a letter of endorsement on Serblowski’s behalf to the university, praising her talents as a student, both academically and athletically.
“Brittany is very attentive to her studies,” the letter states. “Assignments are completed in a timely manner and show a great deal of effort.”
The letter goes on to say that Serblowski is a leader within the school and volunteers her time to make it a better place.
Prior to winning this scholarship, Serblowski received the Greystone Award from the university, worth $2,000, but she had to give it up when she won the entrance scholarship because when a student receives an entrance award they are only allowed one scholarship.
“But I’m still a member of the Greystone Society,” she said.
The entrance scholarship will be applied directly toward Serblowski’s tuition and fees when she begins university classes this fall.
Climbing the Mountains of Success
The only Canadian in history to successfully summit Mt. Everest twice is also a humanitarian, educator, entrepreneur, and elected representative—& it all started at St. Peter's College for Dave Rodney.
“Sherpa Dave,” BA, BEd, MRE, is an internationally known professional keynote speaker, who believes “self-motivation is necessary to continually achieve excellence and success and we have to be determined to not give up on our dreams. Before blazing our trail we must retreat from all of the distractions of life…to gain an accurate perspective of where our mission or vocation truly lies”.
Dave suggests that choices in life must be examined in all realms: personal, professional, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Dave feels that there has never been a more confusing—or a greater—time to be alive: there are so many incredible pitfalls…and amazing opportunities. “We owe it to ourselves, our families, our co-workers, and our God--to examine where we are at in all of aspects of our lives. We are called to continue to move onwards and upwards in every respect—without harming ourselves or others in the process. I make mistakes—and hopefully move forward in these regards--every day.”
With his wife Jennifer, Dave is the co-founder of The Top of the World Society for Children. He has worked in numerous countries (including in the developing world, for a year at a time); is a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medallion for Community Service, and has been named Humanitarian of the Year and Top 100 Alumni of the Century by the U of S. He is also a world-wide adventurer/tour-guide and a filmmaker/writer (over 20 documentaries & books). Lately, he has been extremely busy as the MLA for Calgary-Lougheed, the Chair of Calgary Caucus, & a member of six other committees. For this, he has made the list of Our Most Influential Albertans (Venture Magazine),
However, when asked about his greatest personal achievement, Rodney says that meeting and marrying his beautiful wife, Jennifer, eclipses everything else. They are extremely pleased to be expecting their first child in April.
“St. Peter's College was invaluable to me,” Rodney said. “I learned so much about myself and others: socially, academically, athletically, & spiritually.” One of the other lessons learned when taking his first year of university education at St Peter’s was “to think big, without losing humility--and always keep a healthy pride in your work.”
Dave Rodney epitomizes one of St. Peter's College’s messages: ‘Start here, Succeed everywhere.’ Having reached the pinnacle of success, “Sherpa Dave’s” achievements are an inspiration to all.
St. Peter's College Student Shawna Breker wins Humboldt Youth Volunteer of the Year
Shawna Breker, a first-year university student at St. Peter's College, was
presented the Youth Volunteer of the Year Award. This prestigious recognizes
the importance of volunteering and involvement from youth in Humboldt and
surrounding area. The award was presented at the Humboldt and District
Chamber of Commerce Annual Mark of Excellence Awards held February 13th at
the Humboldt Uniplex.
When asked why she volunteers, Shawna said, “I like getting involved. I’m from
a small community and if you don’t get involved, the community will fall apart
plus, I love meeting new people, getting new experiences and I care about
Shawna’s volunteering and involvement in the area is substantial. She is
currently enrolled in Art & Science at St. Peter's College (SPC) and is copresident
of the SPC Student Government. She a member of the SPC Drama
Club, SPC Chorus and is an active participant in many other college activities.
Shawna also volunteered for the Walk for Diabetes in Humboldt, Hogfest in
Engelfeld and participated in a food drive for the Food Bank. She has been a
Teen Volunteer at the Quill Plains Regional Lodge in Watson and has helped
raise money for Prairie Women on Snowmobiles.
As an active participant in the church community, she is a member of the
Englefeld Youth Ministries. She is a member of the Youth Group and teaches
Children’s Liturgy. For over 7 years, Shawna was an altar server in her church.
Shawna’s love of music and performing keeps her active with singing and playing
guitar in church and other events. She has participated in the musical production
“The King and I” and other drama productions and skits.
“Shawna’s community involvement and commitment represents the values
necessary for today’s youth to be successful in society,” said Rob Harasymchuk,
SPC President. Harasymchuk added, “Shawna is one the many outstanding
students who see St. Peter's College as their first choice for education.”
St. Peter's College alumnus, The Honourable Rod A.A. Zimmer said, “Shawna’s
volunteering is a valuable contribution not only to the community, but also to the
country. It is inspiring to see a young person so involved in the community and
committed to various causes.” Senator Zimmer added, “Shawna, and volunteers
like her, are helping to build this country.”
Saskatchewan Teen Wins Pageant Titles (August 23, 2007)
By Michelle Martin of The Star Phoenix
A small-town Saskatchewan beauty and St. Peter’s College student became a national star last week at
the Miss Canada Globe Competition in Toronto.
Not only did 19-year old Nina Gueguen of Humboldt win the Miss People’s Choice Award, she also won
the title of Miss Canadian Scholarship Ambassador – if she chooses to accept the honour.
“The Miss People’s Choice was very meaningful. It showed how much support I had coming from
Saskatchewan,” she said Wednesday, the day after she returned from a week of busy pageant
preparation and competition in Toronto.
Gueguen’s still deciding if she should accept the second award, which includes a $5,000 scholarship,
because it would require she attend events almost every weekend – a commitment she worries would
interfere with her schooling.
In September, the multiple scholarship winner plans to attend the University of Saskatchewan to pursue
the second year of a bachelor of arts degree, which she hopes will eventually lead her into human rights
or advocacy law.
If she accepts the title, however, she may go to China to compete in Miss World University, a pageant
more focused on brain power than beauty. She would also travel the province as an ambassador for
education – but Gueguen thinks it would be hypocritical for her to postpone her education to fulfill the
duties of the title.
Last week’s competition was Gueguen’s first pageant. In the week before she competed in the
semifinals August 17, she was trained to pronounce words properly, conduct herself accordingly and
walk on stage in heels. When competing, the judges assessed a technical element of each walk and, in
the swimsuit competition, they looked for the girls to do something with a sarong.
“It was really challenging,” said Gueguen. “Who thinks about spinning sarongs around on stage in high
heels and a swimsuit?”
She said she excelled at delivering her dramatic monologue – her talent – and was satisfied with her
platform speech about her volunteer work with Special Olympics.
She was disappointed she didn’t make the cut for the Sunday finals – featuring the top 10 girls of the 21
in her “Miss” category – however, she later found out she was only left out because she had already
won the ambassador award from an essay she wrote before the pageant, and no girl could receive more
than one national award.
A total of 83 women competed in the pageant, which had Miss, Teen and Petite categories.
Six other Saskatchewan girls competed in the pageant. Another big winner was Kayla Ewan, 18, of
Esterhazy who placed first runner-up in the Miss Petite category and won two other awards with
modeling contracts as prizes.
Copland Prize In Humanities
St. Peter’s College Alumna Leigh Weber , class of 2003/04, recently earned a
prestigious award from the University of Saskatchewan. Leigh received the
Copland Prize in Humanties.
The Copland Prize in Humanities is donated in memory of the late Thomas
Copland by Mrs. Copland, and is awarded annually at each Spring Convocation
to the most distinguished graduate in the Humanities.
On May 28, 2009 Leigh Ellen Weber was presented the 2009 Copland Prize in
Humanities at the UofS Convocation celebrations. Leigh graduated with a
Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree, receiving High Honours in French.
Leigh graduated from Humboldt Collegiate Institute in 2003 and enrolled in the
College of Arts & Science in September, 2003. She spent her first year at St.
Peter’s College in Muenster, Saskatchewan and then came to the Saskatoon
Campus for her second year.
Leigh was the recipient of the University of Saskatchewan Scholarship as well as
the recipient of the German Book Prize – awarded annually by the Governments
of Germany, Switzerland and Austria to deserving students studying German.
Her work was also published in the Saskatchewan German Council newsletter.
In September, 2005 Leigh traveled to China and worked as an English teacher
for a private language institute.
Leigh has competed in speed swimming for many years and was the Summer
Speed Swimming Provincial Champion in 2004 and 2005 in the 200 meter, 100
meter and 50 meter freestyle, 100 meter backstroke and 100 meter butterfly. She
was also the record holder in the 100 meter and 200 meter freestyle and 50
Leigh will be attending Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario in September to
begin a two-year Masters program in French. Her goal is to eventually complete
a Ph.D. and teach French Literature and Linguistics at a university level.